November 25th, 2015
I recently posted nine videos on You-Tube which were recorded October 24-26, 2015 at an Atomic Veterans Reunion event in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was held at the National Atomic Veterans Museum, near the strip. URLs for all nine videos are shown below.
The videos feature three Oral History interviews and more than half a dozen presentations by atomic veterans. These are complete interviews and presentations, minimally edited (except for extensive audio cleanup, so that audience and moderator comments could be heard).
One of the most interesting presentations was by Peter M. Livingston, who proposes several suggestions about what to do with spent nuclear fuel. He believes (and has numerous credentials and patents to back up his claims) that America can invent a "gamma ray photon" laser which will be able to reduce the fission product content of nuclear waste (it can't do anything about the plutonium, unfortunately). This would actually produce additional useful energy from the fuel waste, while using up the most dangerous byproduct of nuclear fission: The fission products.
Dr. Livingston also has concepts for using spent fuel in pools for creating: "a surprising cornucopia of chemicals, such as alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, ketenes, carbon monoxide" and other chemicals from the radiochemical reduction of carbon dioxide using gamma radiation emitting from spent fuel -- at a profit. Spent fuel is "one to ten million times" more radioactive than a medical cobalt-60 source.
All the presentations were fascinating to listen to and I highly recommend checking out the whole set. Some of the storytellers are old and talk slowly, some talk about some pretty mundane things sometimes, but I still suggest you view (or just listen) to each one in its entirety (total a little over five hours).
Taken together, they present a picture of an important part of history that is becoming impossible to find eyewitnesses to. These men watched, between them, scores of nuclear blasts. They laid cables for tests, stood in trenches near the blast, sent out reports on the telegraph wire...one even parachuted into a radioactive drop zone within about an hour after the detonation!
Included is also one World War Two veteran's story presented at the same event, about landing on the beach in Normandy and the next four months he spent on that same beach, often under fire from German planes, never showering the entire four months, unloading equipment for the war machine (including my father) which was marching across Europe.
You'll cry, you'll laugh, you'll disagree with something, you'll be horrified by many things, but you'll be glad you viewed these tapes of these amazing gentlemen, who each just randomly ended up having something to do with The Bomb (or, in Gaetano Benza's case, ended up on the blood-soaked, body-littered beaches of Normandy on D-Day).
Videos from National Atomic Testing Museum Atomic Veterans Reunion 2015:
Wally Lyons (Oral History and Presentation, 33:28):
Roger Stenerson (Presentation, 37:14):
(Measured radiation effects of half a dozen blasts)
Gaetano Benza (Presentation, 14:32):
Bud Hinshaw (Presentation, 17:39):
Al Tseu (Oral History, 49:57):
Al Tseu (Presentation, 33:47):
Peter Livingston (Oral History and Presentation, 55:41):
(Atomic blast EMP and x-ray studies)
Leo "Bud" Feurt (Presentation, 13:34):
(Saw dozens of blasts while stationed on the U.S.S. Boxer aircraft carrier)
Al Gettier and Larrie Adams (Presentations, 1:02:14):
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